Men’s Golf To Host Blessings Collegiate Invitational

Local Sports

FAYETTEVILLE – The Blessings Collegiate Invitational, sponsored by Tyson Foods, will be a men’s and women’s collegiate tournament, featuring all 14 Southeastern Conference school members, and will be contested October 5-7 at Blessings Golf Club. The tournament will be broadcast live on the GOLF Channel each day from 3:30-6:30 pm (CT).

The Blessings Collegiate Invitational is a 54-hole stroke play competition, with the men’s and women’s teams competing on the same course at the same time. In fact, the schools will stay in their own “pod” with all five women’s players teeing off on a hole, followed by their male counterparts. There will be awards for men’s and women’s team and individual competitions, as well as awards for the school with the best overall combined men’s and women’s individual and team scores.

The 28-team field features some of the top players in the country, including 10 of the 20 players currently on the Haskins Award watch list – presented to the most outstanding college men’s golfer, and 12 of the 20 on the Annika Award watch list – presented to the most outstanding college women’s golfer.

Among the Haskins Award candidates are John Augenstein, (Vanderbilt), Ricky Castillo (Florida), Canon Claycomb (Alabama), Wilson Furr (Alabama), Walker Lee (Texas A&M), Joe Pagdin (Florida), Trent Phillips (Georgia), Jovan Rebula (Auburn), Davis Thompson (Georgia) and Trey Winstead (LSU).

The Annika Award candidates include Addison Baggarly (Florida), Caterina Don (Georgia), Annabell Fuller (Florida), Julia Johnson (Ole Miss), Ingrid Lindblad (LSU), Julie McCarthy (Auburn), Michaela Morard (Alabama), Pimnipa Panthong (South Carolina), Pauline Roussin-Bouchard (South Carolina), Meghan Schofill (Auburn), Latanna Stone (LSU), Kaleigh Telfer (Auburn) and Kenzie Wright (Alabama).

Reigning SEC men’s champion Arkansas and the rest of the field will be playing its first competition since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the 2020 SEC Golf Championships being canceled. Three Razorbacks – Julian Perico, Tyson Reeder and Wil Gibson – from that 2019 SEC Championship squad will lead Arkansas in the 2020-21 season opener. Joining them will be transfer Segundo Oliva Pinto and freshman Manuel Lozada.

Perico, a junior for 2020-21, was named first team All-SEC last season en route to setting a school record for scoring average in a season (70.38). He tallied three top-5 finishes, including a tie for fourth in his last event – the Cabo Collegiate. In his freshman season, Perico also set the school record for lowest 54-hole score as he won the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate. The Lima, Peru, native additionally set the Blessing Golf Club course record after carding a 64 from the championship tees on Aug. 1, 2020.

Reeder is among four Razorback seniors (with William Buhl, Mason Overstreet and Luis Garza) that were granted a fifth season due the pandemic-shorted season of 2019-20. (Note: all current golfers will be granted a fifth season as well is they so choose.)

Reeder, who graduated this past spring with a degree in management, has a career scoring average of 72.36 with a win and a total of seven top 10 finishes. He has earned SEC Academic Honor Roll in each of his two full years with the Razorbacks and went 2-1 in the 2019 SEC Championship match play, including a 2-up win over Auburn’s Trace Crowe to secure the Razorbacks’ second point.

Gibson, named to the SEC Community Service team last spring, redshirted last season. As a freshman in 2018-19, the Jonesboro native played in eight events (five as an individual) while serving as the team’s alternate at the SEC Championship and NCAA Regional. He tallied two top 20 finishes including a season-best T13th after carding a 2-under-par 211 at the Cabo Collegiate.

Oliva Pinto burst onto the national scene this past summer for the class in which he handled a ruling on the 18th hole that cost him to lose in the Round of 16 at the US Amateur. However, his name was known throughout the college world prior to that. In two years at UNC Wilmington, Oliva Pinto posted a scoring average of 71.42, including a UNCW-record 68.71 last season. He was the named 2020 PING All-East Region and he was the 2019 Colonial Athletic Association champion. Oliva Pinto won three times and his score counted toward the team total in 46 of his 47 career rounds with the Seahawks.

Lozada will be making his collegiate debut. A native of Cordoba, Argentina, Lozada was impressive through the fall practices and qualifying. He is a member of the Argentina National Team and is the 18th-ranked amateur in his country (with Oliva Pinto being the top-ranked Argentinian).

Blessings Collegiate Invitational, presented by Tyson Foods­
Host: Arkansas
Dates; Monday, Oct. 5 – Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020
Site: Blessings Golf Club – Fayetteville, Ark.
Par: 72 • Men’s Yardage: 7,503
Field: all 14 SEC men’s and women’s programs
Format:
– Play 5, count 4
– There will be individual champions (men’s and women’s)
– There will be team champions (men’s and women’s)
– There will be an overall team champion (best combined score between men’s and women’s)
Schedule of Play:
– Monday, Oct. 5 • 18 holes • GOLF Channel LIVE coverage from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm (CT)
– Tuesday, Oct. 6 • 18 holes • GOLF Channel LIVE coverage from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm (CT)
– Sunday, Oct. 7 • 18 holes • GOLF Channel LIVE coverage from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm (CT)

ARKANSAS’ LINEUP
Segundo Oliva Pinto
Julian Perico
Manuel Lozada
Tyson Reeder
Wil Gibson

Photo Courtesy: University of Arkansas Athletics

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